Finally, Murray gathered himself and found some first serves to reel off four games in a row and serve out the set.
By now it was Murray who was grimacing in pain because of an ankle injury, but he did not call for the trainer and managed to break to love at the start of the decider.
It proved to be enough for the world number four, and he noticeably protected his ankle from any unnecessary stress as he concentrated on winning his service games.
Murray did a good job of consolidating his lead but was denied the satisfaction of sealing the win when Stakhovsky, rather strangely, felt he could not continue when just two points from defeat.
"I was surprised," Murray said afterwards. "It wasn't like there was a long time to go in the match.
"The first point of that game he was sliding to the backhand on the court. His ankle is obviously bad for him to stop but I would rather have finished the match.
"He hit two 190 (kph) serves to start the game so he was still serving okay. It seemed the movement to his forehand is where he was struggling but I've been in that position before and I always try to finish the match."
In other matches, fourth seed David Ferrer beat Ivan Ljubicic 3-6 6-2 6-1, and fifth seed Marin Cilic defeated Janko Tipsarevic 2-6 7-6 (7-3) 6-4.
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